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DNA leads to robbery arrest

Police say man beat a restaurant owner with a stick in February 2009.

August 12, 2010|By Cindy Frazier, cindy.frazier@latimes.com

DNA evidence has led to the arrest of a suspect in a more than year-old robbery of a restaurateur.

Laguna Beach detectives arrested Armando Serrano Gutierrez, 37, of Santa Ana, Thursday in Riverside County on suspicion of involvement in the Feb. 26, 2009, robbery at the rear of the Mandarin King Restaurant, according to Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Louise Callus.

On the evening of the robbery, the owner of Mandarin King had just locked up and was leaving the property when he was confronted by two masked men who demanded his money, Callus said. Before the restaurateur could comply, he was allegedly struck repeatedly with a wooden stick. The victim was knocked to the ground and the suspects stole his bank deposit bag.

The victim, who suffered minor facial injuries, has fully recovered, police said.

With few clues or workable leads, the investigation was stalled until recently, when detectives were notified that an item submitted for evidence in the case was matched to someone in the DNA database. The item with the DNA was the weapon used to beat the victim, according to Callus.

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Gutierrez was arrested for an alleged felony in November, and during the booking process police took a DNA sample that later matched it with the weapon, Callus said.

Detectives tracked Gutierrez to a residence in Rubidoux where he was arrested without incident on an outstanding warrant, Callus said. He was then brought to Laguna Beach and interviewed about the Mandarin King case. After Gutierrez allegedly provided critical evidence in the case, he was booked on an armed robbery charge. In addition, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was contacted to place a hold on the suspect.

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